gray(redirected from grays)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
Like this video? Subscribe to our free daily email and get a new idiom video every day!
get gray hair from (someone or something)
To be exceedingly worried, stressed, or upset by or about something or someone. I'm getting gray hair from these kids screaming all day long. I'm going to get gray hair from my teenage daughter and all her wild behavior. I'm going to get gray hair from dealing with this stupid car breaking down all the time!
the grey pound
The economic purchasing power of elderly people as a group. Primarily heard in UK. As the baby-boom generation enters old age, many different markets are trying to capitalize on the burgeoning influence of the grey pound.
the gray dollar
The economic purchasing power of elderly people as a group. Primarily heard in US. As the baby-boom generation enters old age, many different markets are trying to capitalize on the burgeoning influence of the gray dollar.
all cats are grey at night
In the dark of night, appearances do not matter (because it is so difficult to see anything). A: "I can't believe you're going on a date with someone you've never met before! What if you don't think he's attractive?" B: "Ah, all cats are grey at night, so it will be fine."
all cats are grey by night
In the dark of night, appearances do not matter (because it is so difficult to see anything). A: "I can't believe you're going on a date with someone you've never met before! What if you don't think he's attractive?" B: "Ah, all cats are grey by night, so it will be fine."
A concept or topic that is not clearly defined or that exists somewhere between two extreme positions. Primarily heard in Australia. There's a large grey area regarding whether the use of the new surveillance technology is lawful.
Another term for ambergris, a waxy substance excreted by sperm whales and used as a fixative, especially in the preparation of perfumes. The large chunk of grey amber that washed ashore is worth more than gold!
The influence exerted by the elderly people in an organization, community, etc. When I decided to run for office, I knew that grey power would be an important factor in the election and that I needed to rally support from the elderly.
all cats are gray in the dark
In the dark of night, appearances do not matter (because it is so difficult to see anything). A: "I can't believe you're going on a date with someone you've never met before! What if you don't think he's attractive?" B: "Ah, all cats are gray in the dark, so it will be fine."
Intelligence. In medicine, gray matter is tissue in the brain and spinal cord. Come on in—we could use your gray matter as we try to solve this problem.
A nickname applied to someone who doesn't seem to age. The phrase refers to the titular character in Oscar Wilde's novel The Picture of Dorian Gray, who makes a deal with an artist so that a painting of him ages, but he does not. Your grandfather must be like Dorian Gray because he doesn't look 70, let alone 90!
See also: gray
old gray mare
old-fashioned Something or someone that is aged, obsolete, or outdated. An allusion to the folk song "Old Gray Mare," especially its opening line "The old gray mare, she ain't what she used to be," it's (rare) modern use is usually somewhat derisory. It may not have fancy apps or let me surf the Internet, but this old gray mare is still the only phone I need. I may be an old gray mare, but I still know how to get up and cut a rug on the dance floor.
All cats are gray in the dark.
Prov. When in the dark, appearances are meaningless, since everything is hard to see or unseen. I don't care if my date is ugly. All cats are gray in the dark.
(a) gray area
Fig. an area of a subject or question that is difficult to put into a particular category because it is not clearly defined and may have connections or associations with more than one category. The responsibility for social studies in the college is a gray area. Several departments are involved. Publicity is a gray area in that firm. It is shared between the marketing and design divisions.
1. Lit. a lightening of the hair caused by aging or hereditary factors. (*Typically: get ~ have ~ give someone ∼.) I get more gray hair the older I get. I guess my genes give me gray hair.
2. Fig. a lightening of the hair caused by stress or frustration. (*Typically: get ~ have ~ give someone ∼.) I'm getting gray hairs because I have three teenage boys. I have gray hair from raising four kids.
Fig. intelligence; brains; power of thought. Use your gray matter and think what will happen if the committee resigns. Surely they'll come up with an acceptable solution if they use some gray matter.
get gray hair from
Be very worried or upset by. For example, I know I'm going to get gray hair from his driving. Similarly, give gray hair to means "to worry someone," as in The boy's love of rock climbing gave his parents gray hair. This idiom alludes to the notion that extreme anxiety or grief can cause one's hair to turn gray. [Early 1600s]
Indeterminate territory, undefined position, neither here nor there. For example, There's a large gray area between what is legal and what is not. This term, which uses gray in the sense of "neither black nor white" (or halfway between the two), dates only from the mid-1900s.
Brains, intellect, as in If you'd only use your gray matter, you'd see the answer in a minute. This expression refers to actual brain tissue that is gray in color. Agatha Christie's fictional detective, Hercule Poirot, constantly alludes to using the little gray cells for solving a crime. [Late 1800s]
Someone who never appears to age. In his novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde told the story of the title character who made a Faustian arrangement with an artist to paint his portrait, the proviso being that Gray would not age, but the face in his painting would. As with such pacts, Gray lived to rue it. It didn't take long before “Dorian Gray” was applied to anyone who showed no signs of aging. If, for example, after ten or twenty years you met a long-lost friend who looked much the same as when you last saw him or her, you would acknowledge that miracle as “Hey, it's Dorian Gray.” And if your friend recognized the allusion, the reply was likely to be, “Yeah, but you should see the painting in my attic.”
See also: gray
the old gray mare
The passage of time. A folk song attributed to Stephen Foster and supposedly referring to a 19th-century harness-racing horse named Lady Suffolk begins, “Oh, the old gray mare, she ain't what she used to be . . . Many long years ago.” Unkind people used the image to refer women “of a certain age” (or older), although when used by themselves about themselves, it has an air of self-deprecating resignation. For example, a middle-aged woman who leaves the dance floor short of breath after a vigorous jitterbug may wipe her brow, reach for a cold drink, and exclaim, “The old gray mare ain't what she used to be.”